For Little Sister Jamalia, having a Big Sister in her life has changed her future story. Jamalia, affectionately called "Pebbles," was matched with Big Sister Angela in 2004 when she was just 11 years old. As a member of a single parent household with three other siblings, Pebbles finally had someone to focus primarily on her well being.
When Angela came along, Pebbles had someone with whom she could attend concerts, see a movie, go to sporting events and more. Most importantly, she had gained a friend who taught her about life experiences and the importance of a quality education. From the beginning, Angela made sure that Pebbles knew of the many incredible opportunities available to her.
"Being around her [Angela] for so long has rubbed off on me. Her efforts and drive inspire me. Since no one in my family graduated or went to college, I look up to her and am motivated by her," Pebbles remarked.
Pebbles has always listened to Angela, internalizing her advice and applying it to everyday life. One example was when Angela gave Pebbles advice on obtaining a part-time job. After submitting several applications, she had been unable to secure a job interview. Angela suggested that Pebbles ask to speak with managers when she returned her completed applications. After following her Big Sister’s advice, she received a job offer on the spot.
This perseverance continued in her quest to attend college.
Pebbles said, "I am the first one in my family to graduate high school and Angela was right there guiding me. In order to make sure that I walked across that stage, she was constantly reminding me about graduation requirements and deadlines. She also encouraged me to study for the SAT and ACT so that I could score well enough to attend the college of my choice." The pair visited college campuses together and attended college preparatory sessions.
Pebbles applied and was accepted to five schools. She began her freshman year at Sam Houston State University this Fall thanks to advice from her Big Sister. Now at seventeen, Pebbles is proud to call Angela her Big Sister.
"God could not have sent me a better Big Sister. She [Angela] treats me as if I were her biological sister. I really do love her. Most importantly, I love that she loves me and we have this relationship that will carry on outside of the program. Our match will officially end this year, but we will remain together forever ," said Pebbles.